Heating for Health
You're not feeling well, and you have a fever. Is your increased body temperature good for you or should you try to lower it?
Medical researchers are learning what happens in the body when we develop a fever. They say that the body's fever response is usually a very important part of our body's defense against disease. Normally, the body's temperature varies throughout the day. If the body's temperature drops below 80° or climbs higher than 108° for a prolonged period, death usually results. Your body has a thermostat, called the hypothalamus, to keep its temperature within that range.
When disease germs are detected in your bloodstream, your white blood cells release a chemical called EP. EP quickly makes its way to the hypothalamus, where it raises the setting of your thermostat. This increase in temperature can make your body increase its production of T cells by 20 times or more to fight bacterial infection. It also increases the production of blood chemicals that fight viruses. EP also blocks bacteria's ability to make use of the free iron in your blood at just the time bacteria are most in need of that iron. Even iguanas and fish are known to raise their body temperature when ill by moving into warmer environments.
Does the fever response just accidentally happen to help fight infection or was it designed to work the way it does? Clearly we must thank God for this cleverly designed defense against disease.